In episodes of his daily podcast this week and in a YouTube video he posted Thursday evening in response to questions from the Washington Post, Corsi said Zelinsky responded to the unexpected email by contacting the lawyer for Corsi and requesting all communications from Corsi with Zelenko.
Corsi said he and Zelenko were collaborating on a website designed to put people in touch with doctors. They acted legally, added Corsi, but he plans to cooperate with the request and handed over his communications.
Zelinsky is now responsible for investigating coronavirus crimes in the US Attorney’s Office in Maryland, as part of a directive from the United States Attorney General, William P. Barr, to prioritize these cases. The department has already billed a mix of fraudsters for peddling bogus treatment, selling personal protective equipment they didn’t actually have, or putting in place more complicated Medicare reimbursement systems, and officials say the officials tips arrive en masse.
Gregory Rigano, a lawyer who said he works with Zelenko, said Thursday evening in a brief telephone conversation that he had not been contacted by federal prosecutors and that he was not aware of any potential interest security forces in Zelenko.
“It’s not something I know,” said Rigano. “We are just saving the lives of people with coronavirus and getting rid of this American virus as soon as possible. “
In his YouTube video, Corsi posted the email he inadvertently sent to Zelinsky. In it, he wrote that Zelenko had “an FDA-approved randomized HCQ test in progress” – a reference to the antimalarial, hydroxychloroquine.
Despite the lack of scientific evidence, President Trump has enthusiastically promoted the drug as a potential treatment for patients infected with covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. Last week, the Food and Drug Administration, citing reports of “serious heart rhythm problems” associated with hydroxychloroquine, warned doctors against using it outside of a hospital or clinical trial .
According to Corsi’s account, Zelinsky went to a government website that lists approved clinical trials and found no references to Zelenko.
After learning of the federal prosecutor’s interest, Corsi said he had asked Zelenko if he had an FDA-approved study – as Corsi said Zelenko had told another doctor during training . Zelenko, Corsi said, then suggested that his study be approved by an internal hospital committee.
“I pointed out to Zelenko:” But it’s not registered as an FDA test, and you can’t say it, “said Corsi on YouTube Thursday, adding that he didn’t think Zelenko was trying to defraud anyone, but rather don’t understand what it meant to have an FDA approved test.
” I did nothing wrong. Zelenko made a mistake. There is no case. And we follow all the rules, ”said Corsi. He said he turned to Zelinsky’s emails and text messages between him and Zelenko, as well as copies of his podcast and marketing materials for the website – “all he asked for” .
Corsi’s lawyer David Gray confirmed his version of events.
It is unclear how seriously the prosecutors are looking at the matter. A justice ministry spokesman declined to comment. But even the transfer of interest from federal authorities to efforts to promote malaria control is likely to frustrate the president and his allies, especially given the participation of a former member of Mueller’s team.
“I am very concerned about the government’s intrusion here into our freedoms,” Corsi said on his podcast. “I see the government demonizing a drug … this hydroxychloroquine, which has been around for 70 years, and is fully approved by the FDA for various diseases. “
Trump has spent weeks promoting the antimalarial in his daily TV briefings, calling him at one point a “game changer” that could help the nation quickly overcome the coronavirus.
His comments echoed frequent segments of Fox News, some of which included interviews with Zelenko, who described how he had successfully treated hundreds of suspected Covid-19 patients with what he called a cocktail of hydroxychloroquine, the antibiotic azithromycin and zinc sulfate.
Experts, including Trump’s lead infectious disease specialist Anthony S. Fauci, have repeatedly warned that while there is anecdotal evidence that the drug looks promising, its effectiveness must be validated by controlled scientific studies.
Zelenko frequently consults with some of Trump’s closest allies. Trump’s aides say he has been in touch with Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and other officials. In a recent interview, Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani said that he and Zelenko spoke frequently – often more than once a day.
“He is a very intelligent doctor,” said Giuliani. “I saw an analysis of Dr. Zelenko’s patient list. Thousands of people have benefited. “
Corsi said he had been referred to Zelenko by another doctor also interested in covid-19 and that he had hosted Zelenko for the first time on his podcast earlier this month.
Corsi website, speakwithanmd.com, offers people the possibility to schedule a virtual appointment with a doctor, by clicking on a button and entering its name and address. He announces “low consultation fees” of $ 59.95, as well as “Prescriptions delivered directly to your door, the same day!” by a partner.
Site claims to be linked to more than 625 health care providers, covering all 50 states. In a “Frequently Asked Questions” section, he says it is “designed to view and treat non-emergency consultations”, although he lists “COVID-19” as one of the many health problems his doctors can examine, as well as constipation, allergies and colds.
On his website, Corsi describes Zelenko as an unpaid “medical advisor”.
Zelenko was a guest on Corsi’s podcast on Sunday and explained that he is working with two German scientists and that he will soon publish data on his use of hydroxychloroquine with his patients.
He accused Fauci and other government scientists of opposing the use of the drug for political and financial reasons. “History will prove me right,” said Zelenko on the Corsi podcast. “The difference between me and Dr. Fauci is only about 100,000 dead.”
Corsi is best known for promoting the false theory that former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States, a subject on which he linked with Trump before the famous tycoon ran for office presidential.
Corsi was in close contact with Trump’s associate Roger Stone during the 2016 campaign, and the two men communicated frequently on WikiLeaks, while the anti-secret group was publishing emails from the Democratic Party which, according to US officials, had been stolen and supplied to the group by Russian intelligence services.
Corsi said he was interviewed at length about Stone by Zelinsky and other Mueller attorneys, who at one point drafted a plea agreement under which Corsi agreed that he had lied in an initial interview on WikiLeaks.
Corsi ultimately refused to plead guilty and was not charged with a crime.
Stone was found guilty of lying to Congress, obstructing official proceedings and falsifying witnesses and sentenced to three years and four months in prison. He is attractive. Zelinsky was one of a group of career attorneys who left the case after Barr intervened to reduce the recommendation he and other attorneys had made for Stone’s sentence.
Josh Dawsey contributed to this report.